Becoming a dad has made me a better Hamlet says Benedict Cumberbatch

Actor says that the birth of his son in June was also professional "serendipity" as it helped him understand the role of the Danish prince

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Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch has said that the recent birth of his son has helped him better understand the role of Hamlet.

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The 39-year-old actor reveals in an upcoming South Bank Show interview with Melvyn Bragg that the birth of his child in the summer has helped him improve his performance at the Barbican Theatre in London where he is playing the Danish Prince until 31st October.

“I’ve just become a father and I used to think you have to be childless to be a Hamlet,” says the performer who married partner Sophie Hunter in February. The couple had their baby son in June.

“I thought that it may be a difficult ingredient to play with but it’s miraculous – as I’m sure you know being a dad – that your thinking about how you were parented shoots up as well.

“So that’s all fed into it. It’s serendipity though, that wasn’t as planned as this was.”

He tells Bragg the play left him “tired and hungry” and said that he was eating heartily in order to maintain his energy levels.

“I drop it all very, very quickly because I have to eat and sleep. That’s honestly the truth. And get home, to a newborn.

“It’s really thrilling to think it might be getting to a new audience, is getting to a new audience,” said the actor. “That’s a terrific thing and that does stay with me.

“I didn’t start out with a bucket list of great roles I wanted to play, but of course it’s something I found a lot of other people were coming up to me and asking. It was more a constant voice outside of my head saying ‘you should give this a go’.”

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The new series of The South Bank Show begins with the profile of Benedict Cumberbatch on Sky Arts on Wednesday October 14 at 9pm